Texas Representative Amando “Mando” Martinez was struck on the head by a bullet or bullet fragment just after midnight on new year’s eve. It seems most likely that the culprit was celebratory gunfire.
The incident, which is being investigated by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, reportedly occurred just after midnight Sunday, when Martinez was celebrating the New Year with family and friends outside a residence located north of Weslaco in the 5400 block of Sago.
The sheriff said Martinez felt something on top of his head and was rushed to a local hospital after the representative’s wife observed a small hole on the top left side of her husband’s head.
A deadly conduct investigation has been launched in reference to the incident, the sheriff said.
Looking for more information on the injury, I found that the bullet had penetrated the skull, but only barely. That’s a very serious injury, and not to be made light of. Usually bullets that retain enough force to penetrate an adult skull are fired at relatively low angles.
To further complicate the case, it was reported that a bullet fragment was removed, not a complete bullet. If the bullet were falling at terminal velocity, powered by gravity alone, it’s far less likely that the bullet would fragment.
The bullet went through Martinez’s skull, but didn’t cause any brain damage.
“Truly the hand of God, you know,” said Martinez, a Democrat who represents the mid-Valley.
Doctors at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco transferred him to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, where surgeons removed the bullet fragment.
Celebratory gunfire can be practiced safely. People could use blanks or fire bird shot into the air (and only in areas where discharging a firearm is legal). The terminal velocity of bird shot is so low that it will not even damage car paint.
The major problem is the same as with any activity. Drunken idiots who engage in it are unlikely to follow basic safety rules. While tragic and unnecessary, the number of fatalities from celebratory gunfire is very low, in the low single digits per year.
They could all be prevented if people used a little common sense. But in a nation of 300+ million people, there will always be those who make very stupid mistakes that cost other people their lives. Whether it’s taking your eyes off the road to text while traveling at freeway speeds or firing a rifle or pistol into the air in a densely populated urban environment, it will inevitably happen.
Staying under a roof at midnight means your chances of getting hit are so close to zero as to be meaningless.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.